What’s new for us in pandemic times

Wow, 2020 has been… a year, hasn’t it?

My heart goes out to everyone that has lost loved ones due to this horrible virus, to the folks struggling due to lost jobs and lost income, to the front line healthcare workers putting their lives on the line to take care of our sick, to our critical workers who are still staffing our grocery stores, shipping companies, etc, and to everyone else struggling during these trying times.

Shifting to school at home

With in person schooling shut down, it has been a big shift getting our 8 year old boys to do school work at home, which has required the use of a lot more online resources. The first few weeks required just about constant help, but they did settle in after awhile and have adapted well to using Google Meet, Flipgrid, Canvas, and other online tools for their assignments.

We’re fortunate that Tera has been able to dedicate time to helping the boys, and I can’t see how a household with both parents working full time could possibly juggle this.

What else have we been doing?

We’ve been doing family walks and/or bicycling around the neighborhood, getting out just about every day.

Dylan left, Ashton right, getting ready for take off on another bicycle ride around the ‘hood.

It’s been amazing to see the boys progress and get more confident on their bicycles. We’ve had a few crashes, scrapes and bruises, of course, but nothing major, thankfully.

We’ve been playing a lot more board games, like Ticket to Ride, Splendor, Catan, Monopoly, Rummikub, and others. Dylan’s favorite is Monopoly (adult edition) and Ashton’s is Ticket to Ride, although Ashton is not a huge fan of playing board games in general. I’ve really been digging Splendor.

We’re doing more outdoor activity now that it has warmed up. Other than bicycling, we get out on the trampoline, play corn hole, tennis, croquet, and we’re always looking for new outdoor activities to try (we still need to put our pickel ball equipment to the test!).

Pausing for a break on one of our neighborhood walks

I’ve been doing 100 pushups/day and ~60 “air squats” per day, attempting to increase my strength. Tera’s still working out on the elliptical, doing some HIIT workouts, yoga, and meditation.

I’ve been trying to learn to play the guitar and also doing a lot of reading.

My ever growing list of in-progress books includes; Designing Data Intensive Applications, This is Lean, The Imposter’s Handbook, Managing the Unmanageable: Rules, Tools, and Insights for Managing Software People and Teams, Accelerate (second time through), and The Stormlight Archive. In addition, most nights I read a chapter out of “The Chronicles of Narnia” to the boys.

Authoring & community involvement

I recently completed the process of creating a new Pluralsight Curriculum instructional plan on Salt Open (SaltStack), which was an interesting experience. Next up, I’m working on a Pluralsight Cloud Lab on AWS CodePipeline!

Pluralsight Marketing asked me to do a webinar for Australia folks, based on my video course (DevOps on AWS: Getting Started). That occurred on April 29th at 9PM MT. I had a minor demo fail, but it was still a good experience for me as my very first webinar presentation!

On May 12th, I presented on the AWS CLI and shell scripting at the AWS PUG (Portsmouth User Group) Meetup, based in New Hampshire.

The genesis of my invitation to this is interesting. The meetup organizer (Chris Williams) saw my bio in the book Python for DevOps ( I was a technical reviewer on the book ), and reached out asking if I’d be willing to present.

The meetup went well and resulted in some fun Q&A and conversations. Getting involved in meetups, conferences and other events is rewarding for me. I really enjoy being part of the Tech community and interacting with my fellow industry professionals.

What’s new with you?

How to #DeleteFacebook

Facebook, as a company, has repeatedly violated their users’ trust and engaged in unethical, hostile behaviors towards user privacy and data custody.

A small subset of examples include:
– The Cambridge Analytica scandal
– Facebook failing to properly enforce safeguards for 3rd party apps, which led to massive data mining & theft of user information by third parties
– The Facebook Mobile app recording audio without users’ consent
– Facebook hiding privacy controls, setting poor defaults, and making the options difficult to use
– Facebook falsely inflating video viewership stats, which prompted a massive increase in video ad spending on the platform
– Facebook aggressively employing underhanded tactics that attempt to force users into using their privacy invasive mobile “Messenger” app in order to communicate with others on the platform

If you’re considering disassociating yourself from all-things-Facebook due to the above reasons, and others, then read on!

#DeleteFacebook Step 1: Download your Facebook data

The first thing you’ll want to do is download a copy of your Facebook data, which includes your posts and media (photos and videos).

On the Your Facebook Information page (access from a desktop), you’ll see a link to a Download Your Information page.

If you’re looking for this page from the Facebook desktop browser experience, you can click on the little down arrow on the top blue bar at the very right, click Settings from the drop-down menu, then click “Your Facebook Information” from the left hand column menu, and finally, click “Download Your Information”.


On this page, you can click the “Create File” blue button on the right hand side to start the process of exporting all of your data. Pay attention to all of the options here. I suggest updating “Media Quality” to “High” to get the best quality photos and videos from your export.

Once this process has started, Facebook will begin the process of exporting and bundling your data into a downloadable zip file. Once the file is ready, they will notify you via email. This can take minutes, hours, or days, depending upon the amount of data you have on the platform.

#DeleteFacebook Step 2: Notify your friends that you’re leaving the platform

We’ve all probably experienced a Facebook friend that disappeared abruptly, or the friend that creates new Facebook accounts on a routine basis.

To help brace your network for your #DeleteFacebook exit, you should provide notification. Come up with a schedule and stick to it. Perhaps you’ll post a one time warning and then be done with it. Others might want to post a few times over a period of a week, or a month, to let friends and family know that they’ll be disappearing from the anti-privacy Facebook platform.

#DeleteFacebook Step 3 (optional): Change your Name

Facebook is supposed to delete your account and all of your data when you use the “Permanently Delete Account” option, but due to the company’s multitude of user and data privacy violations in the past, it might be best to update your Name before deleting your account.

You may also want to change your Username on the settings page, especially if it has your real name in it. The Username is used to create your profile URL.

#DeleteFacebook Step 4: Permanently Delete Your Account

When you’re ready to enter the nuclear launch (deletion) codes, head on over to the Deactivate Delete Account page.

Select the radio button for the bottom option “Permanently Delete Account”, then click the blue button for “Continue to Account Deletion”.

On this “Permanently Delete Account” page, Facebook warns you that deleting your account also eradicates your “Messenger” messages, reminds you that you can Download Your Information before deleting it all, and it warns you that if you are the only Admin for a Facebook Page or Pages, that those Pages will “no longer be published”. If you want any of your Facebook pages to remain active that you are the sole admin on, make sure to designate another admin for those pages before deleting your account.

Click that blue “Delete Account” button and revel in the satisfaction that you are escaping these privacy-invasive devils! You’ll then see a “Confirm Permanent Account Deletion” pop-up, as shown below.

After clicking “Delete Account”, you’ll be logged out and you’ll see the informational box shown below.

#DeleteFacebook Step 5: wait 30 days

After waiting 30 days, your account and data will be permanently deleted! ( supposedly! )

#DeleteFacebook also includes Instagram and WhatsApp

Facebook owns Instagram and WhatsApp, and they’re in the process of unifying their privacy-invasive messaging platform across all of their products. This means that you should not only #DeleteFacebook but also #DeleteInstagram and #DeleteWhatsApp

Alternatives to Faceook

I plan to continue being active on Twitter and LinkedIn, but there are many other alternatives to the Facebook conglomerate. I also intend to post more on this site, which will help contribute to a more healthy, decentralized web.

If you’re looking for decentralized social networks, have a look at Mastodon and Diaspora.

Have you participated in the #DeleteFacebook movement? If so, how did it go for you? Leave us a comment to share your experiences.